HISTORY OF THE ORIGIN OF THE CHEMICAL ELEMENTS AND THEIR DISCOVERIES.

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The origin of the chemical elements show a wide diversity with some of these elements having their origin in antiquity. Still other elements have been synthesized within the past fifty years via nuclear reactions on heavy elements, because these other elements are unstable and radioactive and do not exist in nature. The names of the elements come from many sources including mythological concepts or characters; places, areas or countries; properties of the element or its compounds, such as color, smell or its inability to combine; and the names of scientists. There are also some miscellaneous names as well as some ... continued below

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17 pages

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HOLDEN,N.E. June 29, 2001.

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The origin of the chemical elements show a wide diversity with some of these elements having their origin in antiquity. Still other elements have been synthesized within the past fifty years via nuclear reactions on heavy elements, because these other elements are unstable and radioactive and do not exist in nature. The names of the elements come from many sources including mythological concepts or characters; places, areas or countries; properties of the element or its compounds, such as color, smell or its inability to combine; and the names of scientists. There are also some miscellaneous names as well as some obscure names for particular elements. The claim of discovery of an element has varied over the centuries. Many claims, e.g., the discovery of certain rare earth elements of the lanthanide series, involved the discovery of a mineral ore from which an element was later extracted. The honor of discovery has often been accorded not to the person who first isolated the element but to the person who discovered the original mineral itself, even when the ore was impure and contained many elements. The reason for this is that in the case of these rare earth elements, the ''earth'' now refers to oxides of a metal not to the metal itself. This fact was not realized at the time of their discovery, until the English chemist Humphry Davy showed that earths were compounds of oxygen and metals in 1808. In the early discoveries, the atomic weight of an element and spectral analysis of the element were not available. Later both of these elemental properties would be required before discovery of the element would be accepted. In general, the requirements for discovery claims have tightened through the years and claims that were previously accepted would no longer meet the minimum constraints now imposed. There are cases where the honor of discovery is not given to the first person to actually discover the element but to the first person to claim the discovery in print. If a publication was delayed, the discoverer has often historically been ''scooped'' by another scientist.

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17 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00782642

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  • 41ST IUPAC GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BRISBANE (AU), 06/29/2001--07/08/2001

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  • Report No.: BNL--NCS-68350
  • Report No.: KB0301042
  • Grant Number: AC02-98CH10886
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 782642
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc723781

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  • June 29, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 3:44 p.m.

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HOLDEN,N.E. HISTORY OF THE ORIGIN OF THE CHEMICAL ELEMENTS AND THEIR DISCOVERIES., article, June 29, 2001; Upton, New York. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc723781/: accessed July 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.